The Shepherd Appoints a Shepherd

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

I will appoint for them a single shepherd, and he will feed them. My servant David will feed them. He will be their shepherd. I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David will be their prince. I, the LORD, have spoken.

Ezekiel 34:23

In yesterday's reflection, we saw that, after rebuking the "shepherds" of Israel for failing to care for their "flock," God chooses to become Israel's good shepherd. He will do what their human shepherds failed to do: seek them, rescue them, protect them, nurture them.

Yet, the Lord will not be the only shepherd of Israel. He will also appoint another shepherd, a human leader who will guide and care for them. The Lord names this person: "My servant David will feed them. He will be their shepherd" (34:23). Since Ezekiel is prophesying several centuries after King David died, he is not predicting a resurrection of the literal David, but rather a leader from the line of David who will rule over Israel as David did. The Lord alone will be the God of his people. The Davidic ruler will be the Lord's servant and the people's prince (34:24).

As Christians, we rightly see in this text a picture of Jesus, the Son of David, who was appointed by God as the rightful king of Israel. Jesus spoke of himself in the language of Ezekiel 34: "I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep" (John 10:14-15).

Yet, Jesus is not just the shepherd of Israel. As he explains, "I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd" (John 10:16). These other sheep are the Gentiles, those who are part of Jesus' flock even though they are not descendents of Abraham.

No matter your religious background, whether you were raised Jewish or Christian, Muslim or atheist, Jesus calls you to belong to him, to be part of his flock. He invites you to live in relationship with him, one in which he knows you and you know him deeply. He also invites you to join his "one flock," so that you might live in relationship with your sisters and brothers in Christ. The essence of the Christian life is intimate fellowship with God through Christ and with his people.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways have you experienced Jesus as your shepherd? What does it mean to you to be part of the flock of Jesus?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how I thank you for being my shepherd, my good shepherd. You have laid down your life for me, that I might live. You have invited me to enjoy relationship with you and your people. You guide me, protect me, and feed me. You know my voice and, by your grace, I know yours. What a wonder!

All praise be to you, my Good Shepherd! Amen.

A Reminder from Mark: If you're looking for an opportunity to grow in your faith this summer, if you'd like to be refreshed in a place of stunning natural beauty, if you'd like to enjoy great food and good friends, let me remind you that several of the Laity Lodge retreats are still open for registration. I'd encourage you to check out the Laity Lodge website. Also, as I've mentioned before, I am pleased to be speaking at Laity Lodge this summer along with Jackie Roese, an outstanding Bible teacher. We'll be focusing the theme: "Get Found: Moving Out of Hiding into Community." The musician for this retreat will be Sara Groves. This retreat begins in the evening of Thursday, June 28, ending at noon on Sunday, July 1. I'd love to see you at "the Lodge" this summer.

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